Italian Gambling Authority

Italy and gambling go together like bread and butter. Both are closely connected – from the term casino to games such as biribi and backgammon, gambling as we know is deeply rooted in Italian history.

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The first gambling house called Ridotto was opened in Sicily in the XVII century. It was a high-stakes house not unlike luxurious Vegas casinos today, where most of the clients are rich. Many of the casino games we play today have been invented in a primitive form in Italy – the list includes bingo, baccarat, backgammon, and biribi, a primitive form of lottery.

Even today, gambling is highly popular in Italy, although strictly controlled. Any operator that seeks to offer its games to Italians must obtain a license from the ADM (Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli), which regulates all gambling and betting operations in Italy.

What is the ADM?

The ADM is the highest regulatory body for gambling in Italy that awards licenses to prospective gaming operators and oversees their operations. Gambling is still illegal under Italian criminal law, although it excludes skill and luck-based games. The law does permit bingo, lotteries, sports betting, and other activities to be played in Italy, but only if the operators have been granted an ADM license.

Before 2000, gambling was completely illegal in Italy. However, the industry was gradually liberalized since then. Until 2014, the ADM was known as AAMS and was responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the gambling sector. Since changing its name to ADM, this new body oversees all gambling activities in Italy and also grants licenses to prospective gaming operators and online gambling sites.
Even after its formation, Italy was pretty strict about gaming licenses, with the ADM issuing different licenses for different types of games in limited numbers.

ADM issues Licenses in Italy
ADM issues Licenses in Italy

What kind of licenses does the ADM offer?

The ADM licenses allow current license holders to extend their gaming portfolio using the same license. The extensions include lotto (and related) games, pari-mutuel games, card games, sports betting, and drawing and deferred drawing lotteries.

Of course, the ADM issues licenses under strict conditions in order to protect both the player and provider. Players must fill out a special form disclosing their name, address, and tax code, and are also requested to provide a copy of their ID before playing at an online casino, which sounds unreal, yet has a point. The ADM does this in order to protect minors and reduce the damage of underage gambling. If an adult is caught facilitating gambling to minors, he will face criminal charges, which shows how invested ADM and Italy are to fight illegal and underage gambling.

ADM to award licenses by the end of 2018

After a ban on all forms of gambling advertising that will come into force on January 1, 2019, the ADM has decided to award more than a hundred licenses to operators that want to enter the Italian gambling market. By now, the ADM received 80 applicants who need to pay a one-off fee of €200.000 for a license that will be valid by the end of 2022. The Italian government is hoping that this will attract major casino and betting operators to Italy in order to satisfy the appetite of Italian players.

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